Are you faced with hair loss? If you are a working woman with hair loss problems, you may even be embarrassed to be at work. What you feel right now is perfectly natural. You may have what is known as female pattern hair loss, which is the most common form of hair loss in females. A serious issue, female pattern hair loss (FPHL) results in impaired social functioning, low self-esteem, anxiety, and psychological distress.
There are medical treatments available as well as non-pharmacological treatments such as cosmetic camouflage, counseling, and hair transplantation. It will also do you good to remember that FPHL is a chronic progressive condition, and continuous and regular treatment is a must.
The causes for female pattern baldness
In today’s highly stressful environment, FPHL can be caused by aging, hormones, and even genes. Baldness occurs when hair that is lost is not replaced by new hair that grows in its place. Hormonal changes such as changes in the levels of androgens can cause the hair on the head to grow thinner. If there is any family history of female or male pattern baldness then you must be vigilant. Some other common causes of FPHL are:
• Certain autoimmune diseases
• Certain skin diseases leading to scarring of hair follicles
• Hormone problems
• Too little iron
• Medical treatments such as chemotherapy
• Patchy hair loss (alopecia areata)
• Vitamin deficiency such as that of vitamin B (biotin)
• Breaking of hair
Patterns of female hair loss
FPHL can be described using the Ludwig Classification. There are three different types of FPHL:
• Type I, which is minimal thinning that can be camouflaged using various hair styling techniques
• Type II, which is characterized by a noticeable widening of the mid-line part and decreased hair volume
• Type III, which is described by diffused thinning
Diagnosis before treatment
While hair loss in women rarely progresses to near total baldness it is always better to get a diagnosis done. To diagnose FPHL, other causes of hair loss are ruled out, the pattern and appearance of the hair loss is noted, and the patient’s medical history is taken. Additional observations made by a doctor will be for abnormal new hair growth, changes in menstrual periods, and new acne. Sometimes skin disorders cause hair loss; so, a skin biopsy can be done to diagnose the skin disorder.
Types of treatment
FPHL needs to be treated because if untreated, it may become permanent. Here are some common treatment options:
• The United States Food and Drug Administration, has approved minoxidil to treat baldness. A 2% concentration of the solution applied to the scalp can stimulate hair growth. When studies were conducted on women with FPHL, it was found that 60% of the women in the group reported new hair growth on application of minoxidil. Minoxidil is not a quick-fix drug. Sometimes the effects of the drug are seen two months later or even four months later. The drug needs to be applied regularly and the treatment must not stop. Using a spray-pump or dropper, you can apply it twice-daily to the area where the hair is thinning. Only gently massage it into the scalp. Do not shampoo your hair at least for four hours after you have applied the solution.
• Sometimes minoxidil may not work for some females. In such cases, one may take spironolactone, a medicine taken by mouth. But, this drug is not FDA-recommended. It can also result in side-effects such as depression, weight gain, loss of libido, and fatigue. It may also cause birth defects if consumed by pregnant women or those contemplating having children, so use this drug only very cautiously and after discussing all the side effects with your physician.
• Lack of iron may sometimes cause FPHL. So after consulting with the clinician, a woman may take iron supplements if her iron level is less than 70 nanograms per milliliter. However, there is no medical evidence that links iron intake to prevention of hair loss.
• Hair transplants known as follicular unit transplantation can also be done but these tend to be expensive procedures. They can cause minor scarring and skin infection in some cases.
There is no prevention for hair loss, which can result from a number of factors. All one can do is treat it, to prevent any further complications and symptoms.
Michelle Tyler is a writer who writes well-researched, fashion related articles which provides relevant information to improvise on regular fashion tips. These articles help designers to get a notch on fashion in their day to-day activity.